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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Clemson
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  04/08/21 - Joseph NgataSo/2023, Clemson, 6-3, 220 (DS#22 WR) + More +

  Three of Clemson's top "Wide Receiver U" students are expected to give the Tigers' offense a jolt in 2021. Senior Justyn Ross and junior Frank Ladson Jr. didn't play in Clemson's spring game April 3, but junior Joseph Ngata did and provided a peek into how the unit could look this fall. Ngata caught six passes for 83 yards in the annual Orange & White game on Saturday. Ross sat out with a spine injury and Ladson was out for an undisclosed reason. "His upside," Swinney said of Ngata, "is through the roof." Swinney has been hyping Ngata since the Folsom, Calif., product stepped foot on campus, but Ngata's production has yet to live up to the buzz. He played sparingly as a freshman in 2019 - 17 catches for 240 yards and three touchdowns - and then was limited to seven games in 2020 because of an abdominal injury. - Charleston Post Courier

(DS#22 WR) So/2023 WR Joseph NgataClemson
News Source: Charleston Post Courier
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  04/07/21 - DJ UiagaleleiFr/2024, Clemson, 6-4, 250 (DS#1 QB) + More +

  Clearly, Clemson already has an upgraded Uiagalelei (ooh-ee-AHN-guh-luh-lay), better than the guy who finished last season as Lawrence's understudy (5 touchdown passes, no interceptions, 914 yards passing in 10 games and two starts). Tyler Venables, a Clemson sophomore safety and son of defensive coordinator Brent Venables, said Uiagalelei is quicker with passing reads since December. Also calmer in the pocket. "He basically came in here perfect, throwing-wise," Venables said. "Just unreal power on the ball and how far the can throw it, he's always had that. The mental side, he's always had. But he's continued to grow and be really able to read a defense." Uiagalelei will benefit from a Clemson defense that projects as one of the nation's best for 2021, the program's best overall tight end talent and a stronger, healthier receiver group led by the return of potential NFL first-round pick Justyn Ross. - Charleston Post Courier

(DS#1 QB) Fr/2024 QB DJ UiagaleleiClemson
News Source: Charleston Post Courier
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  04/06/21 - Kobe PaceFr/2024, Clemson, 5-09, 215 (DS#999 RB) + More +

  Clemson's rotation at running back has been one of the biggest question marks this spring. Lyn-J Dixon appears he will get the first crack at replacing Travis Etienne, who will be drafted into the pros later this month. Dixon played for the White team and rushed four times for 25 yards. But Saturday's game let the coaches and fans see other guys get a shot, including Kobe Pace and freshmen Will Shipley and Phil Mafah. Pace shined early and rushed for 69 yards, most of that coming on the opening drive. Mafah scored a TD late in the game and finished with 38 yards. Shipley rushed for 13, caught a pass and also played on special teams.

Swinney on the TV broadcast said that Shipley and Mafah have a chance to be similar to the "thunder and lighting" duo the Tigers had with James Davis and CJ Spiller years ago. Swinney said Shipley, who played at Weddington High in North Carolina, is ahead of where Travis Etienne was at this point in his freshman year. "He's better than advertised," Swinney said. "He's going to be a great one. He's going to be a great player. He's incredibly dynamic. He can return, he can catch and he's physically way ahead for a high school kid." - The State


(DS#999 RB) Fr/2024 RB Kobe PaceClemson
News Source: The State
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  04/06/21 - Taisun PhommachanhrFr/2024, Clemson, 6-3, 220 (DS#999 QB) + More +

  Clemson's quarterback depth took a big hit on Saturday. Sophomore backup quarterback Taisun Phommachanh suffered a torn Achilles during the annual Orange-White game, Coach Dabo Swinney confirmed. The injury came on the final drive of the game when Phommachanh completed a pass to Davis Allen. Swinney said Phommachanh thought someone hit him on the play but it was a non-contact injury. Phommachanh was on the ground for several minutes and couldn't put any weight on his left leg as he left the field. "I hate to see that for him," Swinney said. "He has four years left and it is so easily to magnify the pain of the moment, especially when you are a young person. His experience, knowledge, progress and all things he has been able to do that isn't going to go away. "This is definitely a setback for him and our team, but everybody deals with setbacks and challenges along the way. It is how you respond to those things that really determines everyone's success. We know he will respond the right way. We will get a great team around him and get him back better than ever." - The State

(DS#999 QB) rFr/2024 QB Taisun PhommachanhClemson
News Source: The State
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  04/03/21 - Justyn RossrJr/2023, Clemson, 6-3, 205 (DS#999 WR) + More +

  Justyn Ross has experienced the highs and lows during his time in the Clemson football program. The highs included a pair of 100-yard games in the postseason as the Tigers won the 2019 national championship. The lows included season-ending surgery that has kept the junior receiver out of action for more than a year. But Ross is getting closer to a full-time return. He was allowed to practice late in the 2020 season last year and has been on the field for spring practice. Ross had a virtual meeting with his doctors last week and has to go to Pittsburgh in June where he hopes to get the go-ahead for full contact for the 2021 season.

"A year ago I didn't think I would put on pads again," Ross said Wednesday. "So I'm grateful. I'm taking advantage of every rep I get...I realize how quick the game could be taken away from me. Like my grandma told me, I put everything in God's hands and went and did everything the doctors and coaches told me to do...I will be ready to play any time they tell me." Ross led Clemson in receiving yards with 1,000 as a freshman in 2018. He led Clemson with 66 receptions in 2019 and was likely going to to be a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft before the injury. Ross announced in January he would come back for another year. - The State


(DS#999 WR) rJr/2023 WR Justyn RossClemson
News Source: The State
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  03/26/21 - Lyn-J DixonJr/2022, Clemson, 5-09, 195 (DS#7 RB) + More +

  About 15 minutes into his inaugural Zoom media availability, first-year Clemson running backs coach C.J. Spiller was interrupted by a voice off camera. Then Dabo Swinney appeared in frame. "He ain't ready! He ain't ready!" Swinney said, beaming. Spiller, of course would argue the opposite. He's not merely ready for his first full season as a coach - he's prepared. One of Spiller's most important tasks will be deciding on a pecking order for his position group. Many expect senior Lyn-J Dixon to be the presumptive starter in 2021, but Spiller said March 24 that the depth chart has yet to be established. "It's been a very healthy competition," Spiller said. Dixon's production dipped last season - he averaged 4.5 yards per carry, below his career average of 6.6 yards - but in recent weeks he's earned high praise from Swinney and offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, who previously coached the running backs before moving to tight ends this spring. "I really like what I've seen out of Lyn-J," Swinney said. "He's got a fire under his rear, and I love it. You know, there's a difference between running to a fire and running to get out of one. He's highly motivated." - Charleston Post Courier

(DS#7 RB) Jr/2022 RB Lyn-J DixonClemson
News Source: Charleston Post Courier
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  03/14/21 - Derion KendrickJr/2022, Clemson, 6-0, 190 (DS#3 CB) + More +

  Former Clemson football player Derion Kendrick has been charged with gun and drug violations in his hometown of Rock Hill, according to officials and police records. Derion Rayshawn Kendrick, 20, was arrested Friday morning and charged with unlawful carrying of a handgun, said Lt. Michael Chavis of the Rock Hill Police Department. Rock Hill patrol officers were on May Court around 3 a.m. Friday when Kendrick was found in a car, Chavis said. Kendrick was asleep with a gun in his lap, court records show. Kendrick was issued a citation for simple possession of marijuana after a small amount of the drug was found and seized, Chavis said. Kendrick was the sole occupant of the vehicle, according to an arrest warrant obtained by The Herald. - The State

(DS#3 CB) Jr/2022 CB Derion KendrickClemson
News Source: The State
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  03/12/21 - Travis EtienneSr/2021, Clemson, 5-10, 215 (DS#2 RB) + More +

  Etienne worked out at Clemson's on campus pro day Thursday and was timed at 4.41 in the 40-yard dash by NFL scouts. (Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor was the only running back faster at last year's NFL Combine. He was drafted in the early second round.) The speedy Etienne said he thinks he's worthy of being a first-round pick. "I'm one of the best skill guys in the draft. I'm able to do it all. I feel like I add that component to take teams to the next tier," Etienne said. "I feel like me being in the game, I just possess a lot of things that are God-given that most guys don't possess."

Etienne, who was named an All-American in 2020, averaged 7.2 yards per carry over the course of his career. As a senior this past season he rushed for 914 yards and had 588 receiving yards. The Louisiana native, who played in an option offense in high school, leaves Clemson as a complete back who can beat you with a handoff, out of the backfield or on special teams. "You see on the film I'm able to be out there three downs," Etienne said. "I'm able to play special teams. So just being able to impact the team each and every down I feel like is what makes me different and worthy of the first round." - The State


(DS#2 RB) Sr/2021 RB Travis EtienneClemson
News Source: The State
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  03/12/21 - *Jackson CarmanJr/2021, Clemson, 6-5, 317 (DS#15 OT) + More +

  There was no particular moment during the 2020 season when Jackson Carman knew it would be his last year at Clemson. Shortly after the Tigers lost to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, Carman made the choice to turn pro and enter the NFL Draft. Carman officially announced his choice on Jan. 6 after talking it over with people close to him. "Just felt like I was ready physically and mentally and maturity wise," Carman told The State. "Feel like this is a good opportunity for me. I still have the ability to get my degree and everything. So I think it was the right move for me."

Carman has been training in Dallas as he prepares for the NFL Draft and for Clemson's Pro Day, which takes place on Thursday. He's been focused on improving all areas of his game while working out in Dallas. "I feel like for me personally there's not one singular thing that I feel like is the biggest deficiency," Carman said. "I feel like every single part of my game needs work, and I'm working on every single part - whether it's physical, technique, mental. Every single thing I'm putting in tons of effort and work towards building myself holistically as a player." - The State


(DS#15 OT) Jr/2021 OT *Jackson CarmanClemson
News Source: The State
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  03/12/21 - Xavier ThomasrJr/2023, Clemson, 6-2, 265 (DS#9 DE) + More +

  Clemson defensive end Xavier Thomas has had an up-and-down career thus far. Swinney is hopeful that the former five-star recruit is ready to finish his time at Clemson on a high note. Thomas has been consistent so far this spring, according to Swinney. That is a big change from last year. The senior missed time at the start of last season as he recovered from COVID, then missed the final two games of the 2020 season for an unspecified reason. "He's been consistent, and he was consistently inconsistent last year. Just for all kinds of reasons," Swinney said. "That's probably the biggest thing has just been his availability. He's been here every day. He's been very consistent. And that's all we need. I'm excited for him to hopefully finish up strong and really have the type of offseason that he needs to have and wants to have." Thomas appeared in seven games last year, making one start. He has 22.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks over three years so far in his college career. - The State

(DS#9 DE) rJr/2023 DE Xavier ThomasClemson
News Source: The State
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  03/04/21 - DJ UiagaleleiFr/2024, Clemson, 6-4, 250 (DS#1 QB) + More +

  Last week, D.J. Uiagalelei's phone buzzed with a text from a friend who was in Santa Monica, Calif., and needed a restaurant recommendation. Uiagalelei hails from nearby Bellflower. "I told him there's a really good seafood place out there," Uiagalelei said. The friend, it should be noted, was Trevor Lawrence, the former Clemson star quarterback and Uiagalalei's predecessor. The tip represented a role reversal for the two: Lawrence spent last season dispensing advice to Uiagalelei. But now the Tigers are Uiagalelei's team and the sophomore is intent on taking Clemson back to the College Football Playoff, while using Lawrence as a blueprint.

That process started last week at the onset of spring practice. "The biggest thing I took was how he handled everything," Uiagalelei said. "How committed he is to being the best person on the field and off the field." Uiagalelei said he is pushing himself to be more of a vocal leader, though it is more in his nature to lead by example, as Lawrence did. Lawrence was always on time, Uiagalelei said, and always completed his schoolwork. That's the standard Uiagalelei is working toward. "I want to be the most accountable guy on the team," he said. - Charleston Post Courier


(DS#1 QB) Fr/2024 QB DJ UiagaleleiClemson
News Source: Charleston Post Courier
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  03/03/21 - Justyn RossrJr/2023, Clemson, 6-3, 205 (DS#999 WR) + More +

  If things go according to plan, Justyn Ross will be back for Clemson in 2021. And he'll be at a new position: slot wide receiver. Many expected the 6-4, 205-pound Ross to slide in as the team's boundary receiver, but coach Dabo Swinney on Monday said otherwise. Ross is expected to be ready for the start of the campaign after missing all of last season following surgery for a congenital fusion in his spine. "We're back in business there at wideout," coach Dabo Swinney said. "Justyn can play all three spots, and he will, but if we played today and he was cleared to play, he would start at that slot."

The decision is as much a testament to Ross' versatility as Clemson's depth, Swinney said. He labeled Ross and juniors Frank Ladson and Justyn Ross - all of whom were limited in 2020 - as "elite," and he wants all three on the field. Ross's unique skillset allows the coaching staff to make that happen. "His lateral quickness and explosiveness in and out of cuts, that's one of Justyn's gifts," Swinney said. "He's (former Clemson slot receiver Hunter) Renfrow-esque when it comes to his lateral ability. - Charleston Post Courier


(DS#999 WR) rJr/2023 WR Justyn RossClemson
News Source: Charleston Post Courier
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  03/02/21 - Derion KendrickJr/2022, Clemson, 6-0, 190 (DS#3 CB) + More +

  Cornerback Derion Kendrick has left the program and is expected to enter the NCAA transfer portal. Kendrick, a senior, was the Tigers' most talented cornerback last season but started in just eight of 12 games because of injuries and "disciplinary issues." Coach Dabo Swinney said Kendrick had been in the "love shack." A former 5-star recruit, Kendrick earned second-team All-ACC honors as a sophomore in 2019. Playing opposite corner back A.J. Terrell - who was later taken No. 16 overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2020 NFL Draft - Kendrick recorded 51 tackles (three for loss), six pass breakups and two interceptions. - Charleston Post Courier

(DS#3 CB) Jr/2022 CB Derion KendrickClemson
News Source: Charleston Post Courier
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  03/02/21 - Derion KendrickJr/2022, Clemson, 6-0, 190 (DS#3 CB) + More +

  Derion Kendrick was no longer on the roster, a Clemson official confirmed Sunday morning. The school would not say why and would not confirm whether or not the senior's departure was discipline-related. Dabo Swinney is expected to address Kendrick's situation after Monday's practice. Kendrick was named first-team All-ACC last season after appearing in nine games, with eight starts. He signed with Clemson for the class of 2018 as a five-star recruit from South Pointe High School in Rock Hill. Kendrick was projected by some to be a first round pick in this year's NFL draft, despite struggling in the Sugar Bowl against Ohio State as Justin Fields and the Buckeyes passed for 385 yards against the Tigers. However, he opted to return for his senior season, a decision that surprised many. Swinney said last season that Kendrick needed to do a better job from an accountability standpoint moving forward. - The State

(DS#3 CB) Jr/2022 CB Derion KendrickClemson
News Source: The State
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  02/25/21 - Justin FosterrSr/2022, Clemson, 6-2, 265 (DS#999 DE) + More +

  A potential starter on Clemson's defensive front is moving on from football. Tigers coach Dabo Swinney announced Wednesday afternoon that defensive end Justin Foster has graduated and is leaving the program. Foster missed all of last season after a battle with COVID-19 in the preseason. Foster led Clemson's defensive line in tackles for loss in 2019 when he last played. "Tried to talk him out of it, but he had a very tough fall. COVID was a very tough thing for him," Swinney said. "Justin is a guy that's always battled asthma and allergies. He's always had challenges with that. When he got COVID last summer that really, really set him back." Swinney added that Foster is much better now than he was last fall but is still working his way back from COVID. Swinney spoke with Foster about continuing to work to get back on the field, but the Shelby, N.C., native is ready to begin his professional career. - The State

(DS#999 DE) rSr/2022 DE Justin FosterClemson
News Source: The State
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